The stigma of mental illness has not been an easy fear for me to combat. There has been an improvement since years ago, though a better awareness and tolerance is needed. Also treatment and care needs to be improved within health care, insurance, and across the population of people who just don’t understand what mental illness is all about.
The thought that people think I’m different or crazy because of a diagnosis has been a problem that needs resolution. Over twenty years ago with my first psychotic break, it was apparent that the inability to cope with a particular situation was beyond by ability. I do have to admit that at that time the circumstance that brought me over the edge was an undeniable fear.
My capacity to deal with this situation was too much for me, so my mind began to protect me from my fear of loss. I became delusional with thoughts of my ex-husband being a child molester to my children. I, after years of wondering why my mind came to that conclusion, decided it was a way of being able to take a valid and complete action against my ex-husband for behavior that was totally intolerable.
Sexual molestation was not the problem but another type of abuse which at times was violent and other times emotional was the case. I believe I thought that the anger and emotional reasons for abuse could be worked out. He was not an unkind person after all. But when social services brought about the thought of the loss of my children, and when I was the one dealing with that issue alone (never my husband), I had lost that parental control. I had lost the ability to be the mother that I knew I was – a compassionate and loving mother.
It was after mother’s day in which I was given a dozen roses, from my ex-husband, that my mind began to slip. I was relying on God and his guidance for all of my actions, and I thought that I could see God’s plan being unraveled in front of my eyes. Clearly I was not thinking rationally.
I confronted my ex-husband about the molestation, which he denied. Yes, this was a delusion. But I was absolutely sure this was the case, and he would no longer be a part of their lives. I was fierce.
Paranoia set in which and I thought I was being watched. Water, rain, ponds, anything with water would cleanse me, and help to purify my thoughts. I was fully clothed and walking into a pond near my parents home. The ability to talk became difficult because I was counting all of my syllables, and feared that I would end up on the wrong number. Numbers, colors, songs, street signs, time, pretty much everything I saw or heard meant something.
My parents took over with the children and with getting me the help that I needed. I recall crying and screaming when a friend dropped me off at my parents home. I was a fully grown adult, yet my dad carried me into the house as I was unable to be comforted and I cried and screamed uncontrollably. It was mom that fought my battles as I was unable to at that time. I even resorted back to calling my parents mommy and daddy. I so needed their help and care. Being strong for too long and refusing to get help or assistance had control over my mind. I was under the grips of a total breakdown.
Before being hospitalized, I recall being in bed for the night. Mom was caring for the kids at my home. I was having difficulty speaking and my ex-husband came into the room and sat on the edge of the bed. I’m sure his pride had been crushed due to the accusations I had made. I tried to speak to him, but I couldn’t get out any words because of my delusional fears. Tears were the only thing that I could accomplish at that time. To my disbelief, I recall the anger in eyes as both his hands went to encircle my neck. He retreated before touching my skin. However my fear and that unbelievable scenario, I will forever remember.
It is after I received the help that I needed and was put on the medications that I needed that I was able to move on with my life. The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder of the fear of losing the kids had been initiated and combated for years to come, as I strived to maintain my marriage. The children were raised and loved and pushed toward successful futures. And gratefully with much love, my parents were the guiding and loving force which held my optimism and persistence to achieve balance and goals.
I was always afraid to disclose that I had Mental Illness, or any of the stressful chaos in which I had endured. It was my mom who said that I should never be afraid of who I am. It was with time and courage that I became capable of telling my story, and to not be afraid of repercussions or of the stigma that remains.
I am now able to embrace the strength that I have achieved through my difficulties. I am not any different than anyone else. I have a brain disorder in which medications maintain along with therapy – just as someone who may have any other physical disorder that medications control. Isn’t our brain just as much a part of our body as our heart, liver, lungs, endocrine system, or any other system or organ? It is just that which scares people or there is lack of understanding, stigmas are based.